Roses on the Road

As a kid, I remember watching the Rose Bowl Parade on our very non-HD, barely color and monstrously boxy television set. I could hardly hear the announcers’ color commentary over my mother’s “¡Mira pa’ eso!” “¡Que cosa más bella Dios mio! ” and “Como inventan los Americanos.” 

Now I get to send her text messages with crisp photos, inches away from the floats.

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Santa Barbara #Blessed

There is something magical about this place. The beach, the cliffs, the flowers, the trees. They all conspire together to thumb its nose at Los Angeles. Yet, Santa Barbara doesn’t need to be compared to another city to be better than. It earns that distinction on its own. If money and means were available to me, it’s where I would call home…at least part of the year.

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Algunos Nacen Estrellas: A Stroll Down (Cuban) Hollywood Walk of Fame

Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America

No other place in L.A. personifies the word chanchullo like Hollywood Boulevard.

Half of the tourists are looking down at the names immortalized in thin gold letters, the other half are looking up for a glimpse at the world-famous Hollywood sign, meanwhile Batman and Elvis are desperately trying to get those distracted people to take a picture with them for a dollar or two. Over the music that blares from stores, street performers and musicians, there are approximately 3 tour companies on every block that try to get you to listen to their pitch as they hand you a brochure. And they are competing for attention and turf space, not with each other, but with Scientologists and Christians who also like to hand out pamphlets and Bibles, while inviting you to take a personality test or warn you about hell. The homeless panhandle everyone, except the occasional camera crew, as they know to stay out of their shot.

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Speak and Spell

Photo credit: Adoramassey – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

I speak English and Spanish separately and together, as well as broken Italian, elementary French and can utter two phrases in German. Yet none of these linguistic tools are absolutely any use to me in Southern California. Every sign across every highway, and every street in every city is pronounced exactly opposite of how it naturally comes out of my mouth.

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37th President: Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

Richard Nixon was a congressman, a senator, a two-term vice-president, a near two-term president, and an adviser to the presidents after him. He was also the first president to resign. All of these are facts I knew thanks to my seventh grade civics report on the 37th POTUS. Years later through movies, books and the Pentagon Papers, I learned that he was racist and paranoid, he held grudges and was grossly power-hungry. Basically he was tremendo H.P.

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